Africa’s largest statue of Jesus unveiled in Imo, the man behind it

Jan 1 2016 - 4:10pm
Obinna and his Jesus Statue

Obinna and his Jesus Statue

Africa’s largest statue of Jesus was unveiled in the Imo state village  of Abajah today.

The 8.53 metre (28 foot) tall “Jesus de Greatest” statue commissioned in 2013, was built by a Chinese company and  carved in white marble.

Standing barefoot with arms outstretched, the 40 ton statue  towers over St. Aloysius Catholic Church in  the village.

More than 100 priests and hundreds of Catholic worshippers attended the statue’s official unveiling today.

It was commissioned by Obinna Onuoha, a local businessman who hired a Chinese company to carve it and placed it in the grounds of a 2000-capacity church that he built in 2012.

In his homily at a Mass before unveiling the statue, presiding bishop Augustine Tochukwu Okwuoma said it would be a “very great symbol of faith” for Catholic worshippers and passers-by alike.

“It’s  the biggest statue of Jesus on the continent,” said Onuoha, the 43-year-old chief executive officer of an oil and gas distribution company.

“Definitely pilgrims will come, ” he said.

Obinna Onuoha: dreamt of statue in 1997, when he was 26 years old

Obinna Onuoha: dreamt of statue in 1997, when he was 26 years old

Forty three year-old Obinna Onuoha, the CEO of Premier Petroleum Limited who financed the erection of the statue  said  he had a dream in 1997 to build  it.

When his 68-year-old mother fell seriously ill a few years ago, she made him promise that he would build a church if she survived.

He built it  also in Abajah.

Obinna’s company  Premier Petroleum Limited was founded in 1995 and has offices in Abuja, Lagos and a factory in Osisioma Abia state .

It  produces VIVA branded petroleum  pruducts, such a s grease, engine oil. The Company also provides onshore and offshore supply logistics.

Obinna had worked for Texaco Nigeria Plc. (Chevron Texaco) in the areas of Product Distribution & Logistics (South Eastern Region- Nigeria)

He  graduated from York St Johns University (United Kingdom) where he studied Leading Innovation & Change.  He also holds a degree in Applied Business Management from Harvard Business School (OPM46) Cambridge, Massachusetts. (USA). In his biographical sketch on, Mr. Obinna says he was an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, and a member of the Harvard Business Review.

He is married and has  four children.

*With reports by AFP





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